Table of Contents
Anyone who walks into a welding shop should know that they may be exposed to hazardous welding fumes composed of toxic gases and particulates. The immediate effects are skin and eye irritation or dizziness and nausea, but long-term exposure can lead to heart disease or lung cancer. These reasons compel discerning welders to wear respirators before they start working.
A welding respirator is designed to block fumes and gases, which contaminate your breathing space. There are different types of respirators available on the market right now. There are disposable and reusable respirators. There are powered air purifying respirators (1).
How to Buy the Right Welding Respirator
You could buy the most expensive respirator that won’t serve its purpose because it’s not designed for the kind of welding you’re doing. Particulate filters won’t protect you from carbon monoxide, for instance. You might also buy a cheap respirator that wouldn’t last long. On the other hand, supplied air respirators make you unable to move freely. It makes sense to take note of the factors to consider when buying a respirator. Read our comprehensive article on the best Welding Respirators on the market today.
The protective device needed in a heavy-duty welding environment is different from the one you need in a small workshop. Your disposable filters will not protect you from heavy fumes, and powered air purifiers are a bit too much if you’re just doing some light work in your garage.
Respirators can become uncomfortable after hours of work. They can limit your movement and make breathing difficult. For intense operations, the wrong breathing apparatus can be more of a nuisance than an advantage. It’s important to note that respirators come in different sizes and that you’re supposed to pick a respirator that will fit you well (together with your goggles and helmet). A typical apparatus is flat, hence easy to wear underneath your helmet. In many cases, choosing an adjustable device allows flexibility.
Ability to Filter Fumes
The effectiveness of a welding respirator depends on its filtration system. What’s the use of a respirator if it fails to get rid of the toxic fumes and gases? Since there are different kinds of respirators, never ever make a mistake of buying a respirator that’s not designed for welding. And even if you find yourself shopping for welding respirators, it’s still smart to check the specifications, particularly the filtration system.
Cheap masks and respirators are not reliable for long hours of welding. Even if you’re just doing occasional welding, you’re better off buying quality units made from materials that last for a long time.
Welding masks and respirators come with varying maintenance requirements. Cleaning and filter requirements add to the overall cost of keeping an apparatus. However, every respirator needs to be cleaned every now and then, because a dirty welding respirator serves no purpose other than to provide a different health risk.
3M Rugged Comfort Quick
Inexpensive doesn’t always mean cheap. The 3M proves that. It’s one of the least expensive respirators on the market, but it has the features you’d need in a reliable respirator. Made of strong silicone material, it fits you snugly without causing discomfort. Its Quick Latch feature allows for quick removal. It has a cool flow valve that makes breathing comfortable while allowing heat and moisture to flow out. The exhalation valve keeps your welding goggles from fogging up. In addition, its half-face design allows it to fit right under your welding helmet (2).
Miller Electric Half Mask
This half mask respirator comes in a compact design so thin that it sits right under any welding helmet. If your old respirator is too bulky, this is a good option to try. It filters out dangerous fumes with its Ellipse HEPA air filter. This mask blocks lead, aluminum, cadmium, and manganese particulates or contaminants (3).
GVS SPR457 Elipse P100 Half Mask Respirator
The Elipse P100 is a choice among seasoned welders. Its form is probably its most important selling feature. Being smaller than other welding respirators, it fits snugly under your welding helmets. Weighing only 6.4 ounces, it’s also one of the lightest respirators on the market. Another great thing about its design is the multi-position strap, which allows you to adjust it in several ways to assure you of your comfort. The good thing is it’s not the most expensive item in its class, costing only half the price of the most expensive welding masks and respirators. Thus, it easily makes its way to the list of the best budget respirators out there.
Breath Buddy Respirator
A lot of welders say this is the best respirator. Not only does it filter out particulate matter, but also does it remove odors from the air you breathe. Thanks to its active-carbon filters, you won’t be able to sniff anything pungent while you’re working on your weld. What’s really notable about this mask is the comfort it offers. Once you wear it, you’ll realize it’s worth its price.
Since welding involves fumes and gases, welders are supposed to wear some form of a breathing apparatus — a mask or a respirator. A welding respirator is just as effective as your understanding of how it works. So when you’re shopping for the right respirator for you, you have to look at the features and compare them to the features that you need. Nonetheless, most welders need more than one type of respirator.